March 8, 2011 by Nicole
Well, here we are–the last hurrah before Lent gets underway. So that means that I have to figure out what is the best way to make the most of lent this year.
People always start talking about what to give up for lent, and with me, it’s not much different. There are the normal things that I do, like not eating any candy until Easter Sunday (which is extremely hard for me, given my sweet tooth), not eating between meals, and in the last two years, giving up going out to eat. Invariably, the first temptation to cheat comes up sometime on Ash Wednesday, usually when I drive past a restaurant and hear my stomach growling.
But this time, I think I need to do better. I think I need a new approach. The thing is that in the last few years, I have discovered that the things that were hard for me to give up a year or two before are no longer so challenging. I think in some respects, people get a little complacent–or at least I do–in giving up the same things that they usually do for no other reason than that’s what they usually do. What’s worse, is that I don’t think I have really taken the time to consider how giving up SweetTarts for 40 days will get me closer to God.
Because tomorrow begins the season of Lent, I have a unique opportunity to prepare for my pilgrimage. All I need to do is figure out what I can give up that will truly help me grow closer to God, which means fasting, prayer, and alms giving, but not for me. For the benefit of my neighbor.
Thanks to Eric Sammons’ blog for the following food for thought:
Lent specifically calls us to detach ourselves from this world by giving up the goods of this life. And in fact, by detaching ourselves from the things of this world, we are empowered to become more kind to others. Who do you think was more willing and able to help others – Mother Teresa or Donald Trump? The person who is weighed down by his physical desires – for food, for gadgets, for money – is less able to see the needs of others and to respond to them. But the one who has detached himself by choosing to give up the many goods of this world is able to truly be kind to others, serving them and putting their needs before one’s own needs.